Separation Of Church And State

One of the myths of the Religious Right-Wing is that there is no such thing in the US as the separation of church and state.

Their main argument seems to be that the actual phrase (as well as the phrase “wall of separation”) does not appear in the Constitution. The phrase “wall of separation” comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote while President. Generally conservatives love to go on about what the Founders intended, and Jefferson always seemed to be one of their favorite founding fathers.

This topic comes up a lot on Freethought Radio since church/state issues are the point of the organization. They point out that while the phrase is not in the First Amendment, “separation of church and state” is a pretty good summary of the  Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

I had a Christian friend who used this argument since the actual phrase is not in the Constitution. Then he would turn around and tell me about his debates with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They do not believe in the Trinity, since the word “trinity” is not in the Bible. He would cite Bible verses showing that the concept is. He was pretty proud of himself. And he never saw the contradiction.

The hosts of Freethought Radio point out that the concept of Balance of Powers is in the Constitution, even if the phrase is not. Slavery is also in the Constitution, although the actual S-word is not.  The phrases used are “other persons” and “Person held to Service or Labour”.

There is another concept that is in the Constitution even though the phrase itself is not. And it is a concept that a lot of conservatives love love love: States’ rights.

Either you need the phrase in the Constitution, or you do not.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use

Post created on 2013-10-27_23:52:01, last modified on 2018-02-09_0:22:10

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